New contract aims to stop Milton Keynes residents with mental health needs and autism from being made homeless

A leading councillor has decided to award a three-year contract to stop people with mental health issues and autism from being made homeless.

Background papers to Tuesday’s delegated decision did not indicate the scale of the problem in Milton Keynes but the idea is to keep people in crisis in their own homes and nip other issues in the bud.

“The point of this is to support people who are struggling, to do some intensive work with them,” said Cllr Hannah O’Neill (Lab), who is standing down from her Woughton & Fishermead seat at the elections in May.

“We know that people who are having a mental health crisis may miss their rent, or they may forget something that they should do and are made homeless.

“That puts pressure on the individual who will be put into more crisis and then on to us.”

After earmarking up to £600,000 for an initial three year contract in January 2020, Milton Keynes Council embarked on a tender process. It also includes the possibility of a two year extension with a £200,000 a year tag.

Some 18 organisations responded and seven bids were eventually made for the floating support service.

The name of the winning provider, and the precise details of the contract, were kept under wraps by the council which said such information is commercially confidential.

The council already tries to support older people in their own homes, and has recently reorganised its homelessness and temporary accommodation work into adult services.

Cllr O’Neill, who holds the health and well-being portfolio at the borough council, added: “We are determined to have the same ideas for people who are in crisis.”

No members of the public or other councillors took part in the meeting.

The contract is due to start on August 31 this year.